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Do Agglomeration Economies Reduce the Sensitivity of Firm Location to Tax Differentials?

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  • Mario Jametti

    ()
    (Department of Economics, York University)

  • Marius Brülhart

    ()
    (University of Lausanne)

  • Kurt Schmidheiny

    ()
    (Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra)

Abstract

Low corporate taxes can help attract new firms. This is the main mechanism underpinning the standard race-to-the-bottom view of tax competition. A recent theoretical literature has qualified this view by formalizing the argument that agglomeration forces can reduce firms' sensitivity to tax differentials across locations. We test this proposition using data on firm startups across Swiss municipalities. We found that, on average, high corporate income taxes do deter new firms, but that this relationship is significantly weaker in the most spatially concentrated sectors. Location choices of firms in sectors with an agglomeration intensity at the twentieth percentile of the sample distribution are estimated to be twice as responsive to a given difference in local corporate tax burdens as firms in sectors with an agglomeration intensity at the eightieth percentile. Hence, our analysis confirms the theoretical prediction: agglomeration economies can neutralize the impact of tax differentials on firms' location choices.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by York University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2007_9.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:yca:wpaper:2007_9

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Keywords: Firm location; agglomeration economies; local taxation; count models; Switzerland;

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